Rick Reed moved to Austin in the late 70's from his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. Like many artists festering in the musical realms of sinister psychedelia, Reed takes cues from his days as a painter (John Duncan, to name another). To date, Reed has collaborated in a handful of projects including Frequency Curtain and Abrasion Ensemble, he performs and records solo under his own name and as Careful With that AKS Eugene--managing to reference both Pink Floyd and his synthi AKS.Currently, he hosts the electronic/avant garde radio show "Commercial Suicide" and continues his practice as a painter.
As you should have gathered from the title of this, it is dense. This is an absolute asset to fans of Reed's music, or anyone with the slightest interest in electronic music for that matter. Unfortunately, there are only 50 copies in existence and they are all probably spoken for by now. This compendium has taken a few different forms, one being the 3cd-r set titled Celestial Mudpie, and at least one other that contained 6 discs of material! Also, some of these tracks have been reissued on vinyl. The first two, Dreamz and Blue Polz, happen to be the title tracks of Reed's Picture Disc release on Elevator Bath two years ago. I reviewed that back in March of '09, and realized just now after reading the post again that I referenced this retrospect. Took me almost two years to actually review it though. Sometimes these things just take time.
Discs one and two are of Recent Electronic Music. Disc one begins with the aforementioned Dreamz and Blue Polz, and then slips into the dizzying electric bleeps and ventilator clatter of the third movement: The Fiery Sound of Light. Eventually Reed fills in the sound spectrum as he seems to always do so effortlessly, weaving the highest of high-ends with the crushingly low. Soft focus crescendos break over the existing sound, yielding the incredibly patient concluding track, Mesmerism. The liner notes cite an accordion as one of maybe ten instruments used in the making of these tracks. Odd, perhaps, considering how overt accordions tend to be. If that is in fact what I am hearing on Mesmerism, then kudos to you Rick for using an accordion in good taste (to you and Pauline Oliveros).
Disc two begins with a quick spoken sample not unlike something from an Omit album (see excerpt below), before falling into a series of looped low-end fragments and piercing frequencies. Nice scarcity in the arrangement of sound here. The second track, Capitalism: Child Labor, is a soundtrack Reed produced for a film by Ken Jacobs under the same name. Here we see Reed getting into some heavier arpeggiations of noise and synth-drone. The track is relentless, crushing and completely captivating. The heaviness continues on Hidden Voices pt 1 and 2 where Reed deploys similar psychotropic vibes to those that have come to define the canons of Matt Shoemaker and the Hafler Trio. Reed's control of various synthesizers is tactful to say the least, revealing a continuity and attention to nuance in composition. The final two discs document Reed's recent and historic collaborative work. There is a lot of material to sink your teeth into here, and somehow it all manages to work together in sequence. This is a great compendium of work. Attention labels, more reissues of Reed's work, please.